That’s what I was thinking about all the way to the Writing Yoga Retreat last Thursday. I reminded myself of recent gaffes, of which there are plenty (I get it, Joe Biden). While waiting to meet my contact at the train station, my nervousness grew and I considered keeping to myself all weekend. But then I wouldn’t enjoy myself, and what’s the point of that?
As I considered my options, I was greeted by a beautiful girl with a warm smile. She led me to her car, and I was certain that I needed a teeth check. I pulled down the visor of the passenger side and opened the cover of the vanity mirror. The cover came off in my hand. I tried to shove it back on as if it came off all the time, but that didn’t work. I can be a jerk without even speaking.
I apologized and she told me it was okay, I probably didn’t do. Then she smiled and said, “Well, you might have.” And her honesty put me at ease.
That was only the beginning of my ease. The entire retreat, though tightly scheduled, flowed easily. The wonderful facilitators, Linda Epstein and Stefanie Lipsey, were both friendly and accommodating. The attendees, a talented group of writers I felt so proud to be a part of, were a perfect mix of personalities and writing styles. All of our needs were met with nothing expected of us except to write and nurture ourselves with yoga and decadent food.
And as for me, my obnoxious personality was not only accepted but welcomed. What a freaking relief! We were comfortable enough with one another to shed the ‘proper language’ and behave like a group of friends. Even the editors’ dinner felt like a dinner party with friends and not industry rock stars.
I returned home with sharpened focus and renewed confidence. But the most unexpected result of the retreat was the kinship I felt with the facilitators and attendees. Writing is an isolating thing. We spend much of our time in our heads. We’re reluctant to talk about feelings, or many things that are personal and important. We constantly express our innermost thoughts on paper, so talking about our feelings is just not a priority. Forming bonds with other writers in a setting like the Writing Yoga Retreat was therapeutic in a way that exceeded my expectations.
The tagline for the retreat was ‘Nurture Your Work in Progress, Nurture Yourself.’ I had no idea how true this would turn out to be.